Cuba targets end-year 4G coverage in 15 provincial capitals

State-owned telecommunications operator Etecsa is aiming to bring 4G mobile services to all of the Cuba’s 15 provincial capitals by the end of 2019, reports BNamericas, citing company president Mayra Arevich.

 

The operator begun trials of 4G technology in northern Havana last March, just over 3 months after activating 3G services all over the country. “We have started testing 4G in Havana and in the tourist hubs like Varadero and this year we aim to have 4G in all of the municipal capitals,” said Arevich on the sidelines of an event organised by ASIET.

Cuba 4g

Etecsa made access to 3G commercially available on December 6 with offers ranging from 7 to 30 Cuban convertible pesos (same in US$) per month for capacity in the range from 700MB to 4GB.

Cuba reportedly saw an uptake of 1.8mn users in the first 40 days.

The country had around 5mn mobile lines as of April 2018.

Most Cubans use the prepaid Nauta mobile internet card system, which last year had 1.7mn users.

Arevich said 3G now covers 85% of the population and Etecsa’s focus for this year is to continue expanding capacity to reduce prices and add more users, said Arevich.

However, access to mobile devices is a problem.

It’s difficult due to the embargo. We don’t have any deals to buy phones at preferential prices, and people have to pay in cash. We have brought phones in but they are insufficient to meet demand,” he said.

However, Arevich underscored that besides basic connectivity, the government is implementing other types of connectivity programs for social and economic development.

Despite the US embargo, Cuba 4G has developed a digital roadmap with 22 projects and two key strategic areas – ICT infrastructure rollout and the production of digital content and services.

Programs are focused on connecting educational and healthcare institutes and developing digital content.
(BNamericas)

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